The replace the Articles with a new document
The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in May 1787 for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Almost immediately, delegates unanimously agreed on the need to replace the Articles with a new document that created a stronger central government. However, the delegates could agree on little else after that.
The crafting of the U.S. Constitution highlighted the intense conflicts that existed in 1787 between states large and small, between north and south, and between a variety of different political philosophies. But rather than defeating the process, the conflicts between delegates resulted in compromises that strengthened and improved the document. The process of compromise exhibited by the delegates was in many ways reflected in the flexibility the document allowed for continuous political debate, compromise, and adaptation.
The delegates based their initial design of government on political theories and their own experience with government under the Articles. The rest of the issues presented themselves in the form of debates over representation, the enumeration of slaves, the control of commerce, the protection of individual rights, and the amount of power granted to the people.
Delegates understood that the Articles of Confederation had been severely hampered by the inability to collect taxes and to enforce any of its laws. They also realized that without a strong central government to establish a line of credit, negotiate uniform trade laws, and guarantee domestic peace, they would gain no respect in the world arena and would become an easy target for invasion. The states had taken to petty arguments and jealous behaviors amongst themselves and showed no sign of mutual respect. Therefore, the power to tax, the power of enforcement of the law, and the creation of a national government that was superior to the government of the states became priorities at the Convention.